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This page is meant to serve as a quick overview of the basics of derivitives.


The derivative of a function is f'(x) = lim as h approaches 0 (f(x+h)-f(x/h)), provided that the limit exist.

Alternative Approach

f'(a) = lim x ⇒ a ( f(x) - F(a) ) / (x-a)


For any acute angle Θ in standard position, the following applies:

A corner
A cusp
A verticle tangent
A discontinuity
If f has a derivative at x=a, then f is continuous at x=a.

Derivative Rules

Derivative of a Constant If c is a real number, the derivative of a constant function is 0. d/dx[c] = 0
Sum and Difference Rules The sum or difference of any two differentiable functions is differentiable and is the sum or difference of their derivatives. d/dx[f(x) + g(x)] = f'(x) + g'(x)
d/dx[f(x) - g(x)] = f'(x) - g'(x)
Constant Multiple Rule If f is a differentiable function and c is a constant, then cf is also differentiable d/dx[cf(x)] = cf'(x)
Power Rule If n is a rational number, then the function f(x) = xn is differentiable. d/dx[xn] = nxn-1
Product Rule The product of two differentiable functions, f and g, is differentiable. d/dx[f(x)g(x)] = f(x)g'(x) + g(x)f'(x)
Quotient Rule The quotient f/g, of two differentiable functions, f and g, is differentiable at all values of x for which g(x) ≠ 0. d/dx[ f(x)/g(x) ] = (g(x)f'(x) - f(x)g'(x)) / [g(x)]2
Chain Rule No Explanation Currently d/dx[f(g(x))] = f'(g(x))g'(x)
Power Rule If c is a real number, the derivative of a constant function is 0. d/dx[f(g(x))] = f'(g(x))g'(x)

Derivatives of Trig Functions

d/dx[sinx] = cosx d/dx[cosx] = -sinx d/dx[tanx] = sec2x
d/dx[cscx] = -csc x cot x d/dx[secx] = sec x tan x d/dx[cotx] = -csc2x


Jerk is the derivative of acceleration. Jt = da/dt = d3s / dt3

Implicit Differentiation

Used to find dy/dx when it is hard to find what y equals.

Inverse Trigonometric

d/dx arcsin x  = 
√(1 - x2)
d/dx arccsc x =  -1 
|x| √(x2 - 1)
d/dx arccos x =   -1 
√(1 - x2)
d/dx arcsec x = 
|x| √(x2 - 1)
d/dx arctan x = 
1 + x2
arccot x =  -1 
1 + x2